Digital marketing update: Trump bans Facebook and other fake news stories…

Welcome to Tech Treats, our weekly feature where we provide our clients with the latest news on all things digital marketing. From current trends and innovations, to fresh tips on getting the most out of your marketing spend, we’ll ensure you’re always kept in the loop!

Facebook and Google stop ads from appearing on fake news websites, but will this solve the problem?

A few weeks back, it was reported that fake news publishers would no longer be allowed to use Google and Facebook’s ad-selling services. This is in response to accusations that fake news influenced voters in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, with false reports of a Fox News Anchor being fired for supporting Clinton ‘trending’ on the platform.

As The New Statesman explains, this is just one of the fake news stories that appeared on the platform, though Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied that these would have affected votes.

CNN Tech also points out that on the Monday following the election, the top Google search result for “final election result” directed users to a website that listed incorrect numbers. Following this mistake, Google has said it will be committing to tweaking its search algorithms.

The problem is on-going, however. More recently, a user created a tool to flag fake news on Facebook.

As The Guardian pointed out last week, a reputable source mistakenly reported that Facebook created the tool after it had been installed by a different user. The line between poor fact checking/opinion and truth is a very blurred line!

The TJM take: In this ‘post truth’ world, is this the start of a renaissance for well checked media outlets? Or (as is more likely) will the well read tend to run to these in any case and the ‘red top’ readers continue to consume news unchallenged? We hope it's the former!

Google’s Rich Cards expand to more verticals

Following the introduction of Rich Cards for Movies and Recipes in May, Google has launched two new verticals for US-based sites: Local restaurants and Online courses.

As the Official Google Webmaster blog explains, Rich Cards present search results in a carousel style. This makes it quicker for searchers to browse through your offerings (such as different restaurants on a review website). This is especially true of mobile users as they can scroll from left to right.

The TJM take: According to Google, Rich Cards will help to attract more engaged users to your website. While this may be true for the likes of review websites, there’s always a risk that if you give your full ‘secret sauce’ recipe out on the SERP.  Make sure you give the user a reason to engage on your site.

If you need any advice on whether Rich Cards will work for you, get in touch with the Traffic Jam Media team.

Google updates feature-phone crawling and indexing

Google will be changing the way they crawl and index feature-phone content, the Official Webmaster blog announced recently.

As most websites no longer provide feature-phone-compatible content in WAP/WML, Google will be retiring the Googlebot that crawls feature-phone user-agents. Feature-phone tools will also be retired in Search Console, including special sitemaps extensions and Fetch.

The TJM take: What's a WAP?! In all seriousness, we don’t expect this change to affect our clients as most websites no longer provide feature-phone content. However, we must wonder what impact this will have on users in developing countries where WAP/WML still have traction.

Does Google’s Pixel really reach full charge in just 15 minutes?

In late October, Google’s long-awaited Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones were finally released in the UK.

Replacing Google’s existing Nexus range, the new Pixel handsets run on Android 7.1 and are equipped with a 12-megapixel camera (and an eight-megapixel front camera) and Google Assistant built-in. The Pixel handsets also boast an impressively quick charge time, providing seven hours of battery life after 15 minutes of charging.

The TJM take: 15 minutes is pretty impressive, but how high is the quality of the charge? It’s a known fact that battery power declines over time.

Let's hope it does not catch fire in it haste to get you out the door!

Google releases checklist for building Indexable Progressive Web Apps

Google’s Official Webmaster blog has posted a handy guide to ensuring Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are indexable and linkable.

As Google’s checklist explains, PWAs help to bring the best of mobile websites and apps to users. Their guide contains the standard best practices for indexability and can be found here. 

Are there any topics you’d like covered in future Tech Treats updates? Send us a message on social media or drop us an email.